A teenager earning a driver’s license is a proud moment for parents, but it also opens up a whole new world of worries. Your teenager still needs your guidance to make safe choices.
Teenage drivers face an increased risk of automotive accidents, but there are ways for parents to reduce that risk.
1. Follow the graduated license law
In most of the United States, including Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., teenagers under 18 receive a provisional license with restrictions. In Maryland, for instance, a teen with a provisional license can not:
- Transport minors for the first 5 months, except for immediate family members
- Use hands-free devices while driving
- Drive between midnight and 5 AM, except in certain circumstances
Such restrictions may seem inconvenient, but they allow your new driver to develop safe driving skills. Allowing your teen to ignore the rules can instill unsafe habits and might have legal consequences.
2. Set a good example
This is a good opportunity to evaluate your own driving habits. Do you tailgate, speed or take unnecessary risks? Many years of driving can make you complacent if you’re not careful. Be vigilant about your own habits to set a positive example for your teenager.
3. Have an emergency plan
Preparing for an emergency is essential to safe driving. Teach your teenager how to change a tire and jump-start a vehicle. Build an emergency kit of essential items:
- Triangles or flares
- Reflective clothing
- First aid kit
- Cell phone charger
- Snowbrush and shovel
Make sure your teen knows what to do if he or she has a motor vehicle accident.
Earning a driver’s license is a major milestone for your teenager. By teaching good habits, you can empower your teen to use his or her new driving privileges safely.